Archive for Wednesday, October 22, 2008

City OKs letter of intent to work with KU

The City Commission passes on a chance to decide new guidelines on how and when to protect farm land from development.

October 22, 2008

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A KU on Wheels Bus departs a campus bus stop in front of the Kansas Union on Oct. 15. City commissioners have unanimously agreed to approve a letter of intent that sets a goal of coordinating, consolidating or merging the city and university bus systems by July.

A KU on Wheels Bus departs a campus bus stop in front of the Kansas Union on Oct. 15. City commissioners have unanimously agreed to approve a letter of intent that sets a goal of coordinating, consolidating or merging the city and university bus systems by July.

City commissioners are fine with a new agreement that could allow the city and Kansas University to stop short of a full-fledged merger of their bus systems.

Commissioners at their weekly meeting unanimously agreed to approve a letter of intent that sets a goal of coordinating, consolidating or merging the city and university bus systems by July.

The agreement is different than a proposed agreement reviewed in August that clearly set the goal of fully merging the two systems by next summer.

But City Manager David Corliss told commissioners on Tuesday that there were still too many unresolved details to make such a specific commitment.

Commissioners said they understood.

"It is maybe not as much progress as we would like, but it is still a great step forward," said Mayor Mike Dever.

Corliss said he's still optimistic that the agreement will lead to significantly better service for bus riders, even if it doesn't result in a full merger. Corliss has said he thinks it is likely the university and city bus systems would operate from a shared route map and would honor each other's transfers.

The systems may, however, continue to operate under two different brand names, and perhaps would not share funding or jointly purchase buses.

Commissioner Sue Hack said she wasn't sure residents cared about those details as long as the two systems ended up working better together.

"We're all moving in the same direction to gain efficiencies and to make the best system it can be," Hack said. "Whether it is a merger, whether it is under one name, I don't think it really matters to the transit public."

Other business

At their meeting Tuesday, commissioners also:

¢ tabled a discussion over how much protection to provide prime farmland from future industrial development. City commissioners couldn't reach a consensus on the issue, and instead decided to ask Douglas County commissioners to weigh in on the subject.

¢ unanimously approved new regulations that shorten the amount of time people have to pick up trash from their yards after being cited by city inspectors.

¢ agreed to have another discussion about a rezoning for the Jayhawk Bookstore at next week's City Commission meeting. Commissioners had given tentative approval to the rezoning at last week's meeting. Commissioners were set to give final approval to the rezoning Tuesday, but the applicant objected to the wording of a condition that required the City Commission to approve any future change of use in the property.

Comments

Richard Heckler 6 years, 5 months ago

Campaign to Save the Thttp://www.lawrence.com/events/2008/sep/22/31953/The League of Women Voters of Lawrence-Douglas County is urging everyone to vote 'Yes' for the Lawrence Transit System (the "T")

doc1 6 years, 5 months ago

Stop the T. I see them every day either empty or 1 rider. How stupid is it to fund an empty bus system. Put the money to good use.

monkeyhawk 6 years, 5 months ago

"Commissioner Sue Hack said she wasn't sure residents cared about those details as long as the two systems ended up working better together."Sue, maybe some residents don't care about the details, but most with common sense can see that you are no closer to any plan or agreement other than to "think" about whatever it might be. I have been traveling quite a bit and have landed in my winter home. What strikes me is the vast difference between the city and school boards in these cities and Lawrence. Every single one of them are cutting their budgets. I haven't heard even a whisper of tax increase anywhere - except, of course, in the place I am unfortunate enough that have to pay taxes. There are no school districts building multimillion dollar stadiums, or even proposals for new schools or classrooms. There is no place I have been that wants to increase taxes on their citizens for any reason. It seems our CC and school board live in a bubble and value the "lifestyle" way more than they should. Or, is it that they see the taxpayers as easy marks?

fu7il3 6 years, 5 months ago

KU can already advertise they have a bus system, and KU on Wheel isn't just on campus. Whether or not they joined with the T wouldn't make a difference. Why should student fees be paying for non-students to ride the T?

Jeanne Cunningham 6 years, 5 months ago

What KU would get would be the ability to advertise that there IS good public transportation in Lawrence. Many students who are from places where there IS good public transportation MAY take that into account when making their decisions about whether or NOT to choose KU. If they will have the additional expense of a vehicle or cabs just to get to class, they MAY choose a school that they ARE able to get to. The cost of the "alternate transportation" (which to them is car, cab) COULD more than outweigh a difference in tuition. NOTE: I put that "alternate transportation" in quotes. The bus is only considered "alternate transportation", IF one has a car...

j4708 6 years, 5 months ago

This is the classic example of administrators protecting administration jobs at the taxpayers' expense. It might be a step in the right direction, but shame on the commissioners for not making them take the full step. Hopefully, voters will remember this at election time.

alm77 6 years, 5 months ago

One step closer! More efficiency will fix part of the problem. More efficiency will create more ridership. More ridership will create more income. More income will alleviate the tax burden. Not that it will ever be a fully self sufficient entity, but no public service ever is.

johnadavies 6 years, 5 months ago

I don't think that the city commissioners are capable of making KU "do" anything. The problem is that there is a student committee running the KU system without enough KU Administration oversight! It also might be the same old town and gown problem we've been having for the past 100 years or so in that the KU Administration doesn't want to do anything that gives up control!

jafs 6 years, 5 months ago

It is a step in the right direction.By the same logic, fu, why should KU students get free rides on city buses?

oldvet 6 years, 5 months ago

While it is a step in the right direction, it is not binding on either party. This seems to be a last-ditch effort to get the 2 sales tax efforts passed with a "promise" to do something better in the future. Shame on us if we fall for that empty promise.I believe these tax issues should fail, thus forcing the city to take solid action to propose how the new system will work, how much it will cost, and how much is needed from the taxpayers. Until that happens, I don't believe the "trust me" promise to make things better in the future has any merit. There will be no pressing motivation to move forward as long as there is money coming in from these new taxes. There will be committees and studies and talk, but no action. Vote no on the T taxes and force action.

fu7il3 6 years, 5 months ago

If you were the KU bus system, and your buses are full of riders every day, why would you want to tie yourself to the anchor around the neck that is the T?The T would leech funding and riders from KU, but what would KU get out of it?

kusp8 6 years, 5 months ago

KU On Wheels/ KU Park and Ride already offer services that eat the T for lunch. The ridership for KU's bus system is up 200% ish from last year since it was made free. I don't have figures in front of me, but I would argue there is no way the T could match in a month what KU does in a week and a half (disregarding sporting events).

sunflour 6 years, 5 months ago

chuckabee, you're right -- KU on Wheels ridership is up this year! Depending on the route, it is up between 50-800%, with an overall average of a 120% increase.According to a recent press release that can be found at www.lawrencetransit.org, the T gave almost 35,276 rides in September, and KU on Wheels gave 284,341 rides in the same month. That is a very different level of service!

doc1 6 years, 5 months ago

By the way I'm sick of hearing of those inflated rider numbers. If 1 rider is on the bus and rides past six stops they register each stop as 1 ride. So if i ride to walmart from my house even though I'm 1 person they count me as six rides because of each stop.

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